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Food Co-op Coalition of Region 5 receives grant

The Food Co-op Coalition of the Region 5 Development Commission, which includes Ideal Green Market Co-op, was recently awarded $49,600 in Innovation Funding from the National Joint Powers Alliance of Staples.

Led by the city of Crosslake, the Food Co-op Coalition representing all five counties in Region 5 (Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena) will use its funds to launch an educational campaign, "Why Co-ops?" emphasizing the value of food co-op membership/ownership and purchasing.

Supported by six food cooperatives and communities from the region and beyond, the proposal allows for the food co-ops to work together on a campaign that relays the economic value of purchasing from local food retailers, who in turn purchase from local growers and providers - creating and retaining regional wealth. The campaign will also focus on the personal benefits of purchasing healthy foods.

The other five co-ops, along with Ideal Green Market, include: Crow Wing Food Co-op in Brainerd, Everybody's Market in Long Prairie, Manna Foods in Wadena, The Purple Carrot in Little Falls and Minnesota Street Market in St. Joseph, which is in Stearns County, Region 7W.

The overall goal of a cooperative is to create organizations that serve the needs of the people who use them. They are member-owned, member-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their member. Co-ops provide goods and services in a way that keeps community resources in the community. Members pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone.

Ideal Green Market Co-op officially opened its doors in November 2015 and is open to all shoppers.

"Why Co-ops?" is the first of what is hoped to be many projects together. Project coordinator Barb Mann, of Ideal Green Market Co-op, is excited to aid in implementing the vision of this marketing campaign.

"It is hoped, with a cohesive message and branding of food cooperatives in our region, that it aids in growing the local food economy in our region. As people travel through the region, residents and visitors alike can patronize co-ops wherever they travel, impacting economic growth locally and regionally on multiple levels. Everybody wins," Mann said.

"Why Co-ops?" project updates will be posted to: www.thegoodlifenorthcentralmn.com/the-good-life, along with educational information about what co-ops are, how they work and stories from the people who shop, grow and create value added goods.

For more information about the Ideal Green Market Co-op, visit www.idealgreenmarket.com or call 218-543-6565. For more information about the Food Co-op Coalition, email Mann at barnmanb@gmail.com.

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